How often to wash every item of clothing – from underwear to coats

Regularly washing all items of clothes is important because it is the only way to remove any bacteria, dirt, fleas, mites, infections, or irritants from the fabric. When we wear clothing, our sweat, hairs and dead skin cells make their way into the fibres and washing the items will help to remove this so we can wear them again. However, washing your clothes too often can ruin them. chatted to the experts from Oxwash to find out how often you should be washing every item of clothing, from socks to jeans.

Washing your clothes too often can shorten its lifespan, thin the material and create holes.

This is unsustainable because it will cause you to buy even more clothes and the cycle will repeat.

However, you need to wash your clothes regularly to practise good hygiene and remove sweat stains and accidental spills.

So how often should you wash your clothes? It’s not as simple as ‘whenever they start to smell’ or ‘after each use’.

There isn’t one set rule for every piece of clothing because some items need to be washed more than others. chatted to the experts at Oxwash to find out how many times you can wear pieces of clothing before you need to stick them in the washing machine.


How often do you honestly wash your coats? In the UK, we wear coats for about half the year, which is more than most countries in the world.

You normally wear layers of clothing under a coat, so you don’t need to wash them too often.

Oxwash recommends washing coats two to three times a season.

This means about two to three times within three months, if you’re wearing a coat regularly at that time of the year.


Jumpers should be washed more frequently than coats, since they are in contact with your bare skin.

Oxwash advises washing cotton, silk and cashmere jumpers after two to three wears.

If you have a jumper made from wool, you should only wash it after five wears.


Jeans shouldn’t be washed every time you wear them, they can last much longer than this.

Oxwash says you should wash your jeans “when they start to smell”.

This totally depends on how often you wear them, how long you wear them for, your skin type and what activities you’re doing in them!

Trousers and joggers

Trousers and joggers can be washed after a few wears.

If you’re wearing joggers to work out, they should be washed after every use.

Sweatshirts and hoodies

The general rule for sweatshirts and hoodies is to wash them after a few wears.

We’re all wearing comfy clothes in lockdown, but it’s important not to wear the same sweatshirt and hoodie for more than a few days in a row.

Suit trousers and jackets

If you’re lucky enough to be in a job that requires you to wear a suit to the office during the pandemic, you can probably get away with wearing it a few more times than you’d think.

Oxwash recommends wearing a wool suit for three to four days before washing it.

If your suit is made from synthetic material, you can push it to four to five days.


Unless you sweat profusely during the night or rock your pyjamas during the day as well as the night, you might need to wash your pyjamas more than you are already.

Oxwash’s experts say you should wash your PJs every three to four wears.


Dresses can be washed every one to three wears if it’s a casual dress.

If you’re wearing a fancy dress to a formal event, you should wash it after every wear.

Shorts and skirts

You can wear shorts or a skirt once or twice before washing it, according to Oxwash.


Bras should be hand washed after two to three wears.

Workout clothes

Depending on the workout, you should wash workout clothes after every wear.

If you have gone for a slow stroll in the park, you can get away with wearing the clothes more than a couple of times.

If you’re drenched in sweat, you’ll need to stick it in the machine as soon as you’re finished.

Whites and silks

White clothing and clothing made of silk should be washed after each wear.

Formal shirts and blouses

Formal shirts and blouses tend to cling to the armpit and get soaked in sweat, even if you don’t feel sweaty.

Because of this, you’ll need to wash your shirt or blouse after each wear.

If your shirt or blouse seems fine to wear a second time, go for it.

Underwear, socks and tights

You should always wash underwear, socks and tights after every single wear.


T-shirts can rarely be worn a second time without washing it first.

Swimming costumes and trunks

Swimming costumes, bikinis, trunks and any other attire for swimming needs to be washed after each wear.